Aleksiei Fedorchenko, Director, Niebiańskie Żony Łąkowych Maryjczyków.
Festival Section: Main Competiton – Winner.
This country fascinates. As Scottish ‘anti-tourist’ Daniel Kalder writes in Lost Cosmonaut: after much reading and analysis, I decided to travel to the Republic of Mari El which borders Tatarstan in the south. My decision was influenced by the fact that the Mari, the local inhabitants, are the last authentic pagans in Europe […] I felt that it must be a unique place: victims sacrificed in the shadow of nuclear reactors, the naked bodies of women swollen with fertility, ritual acts of deflowering. Even if such images are missing from this film by the Russian ‘anti-documentalist’, what remains is more than appealing. The Mari Decameron consists of 26 stories of various lengths featuring female protagonists whose names begin with the letter ‘O’. What viewers will see are the dead rising from the grave, the punishment of sacred trees, a forest spirit demanding sex and vaginas speaking in their own voices! Erotica intertwines artfully with folklore, ritual
s and beliefs, permeating post-Soviet housing and villages from another era. The director builds another cinematic monument to the dying minorities of the Russian Federation, which includes traces of Pasolini or Parajanov – not a statue made of bronze, but constructed with astonishment, sensitivity and humor. [NH]
Reporter: Anna Tatarska.